Assessing the journalists of tomorrow

I love journalism. I love teaching journalism. I love finding ways to help the industry. I love finding the best ways to send my students out into the world of journalism with as many tools in their bag. That's why in the last few years I've spent a lot of time guiding my students through the process of building an online portfolio site. I've also grown towards guiding my students through social networks and helping them develop a personal brand. Some of my first lessons: Get online. Build a blog and name it something that includes your name (notice how that is something I already do?). Get onto @jenleereeves) You want your name to be searchable. That is another thing I recommend my students should do. Google themselves. It will give them an idea of what they need to do to boost their name. Some of my students have no problem. Their work at KOMU is the first thing you see. But others have very generic names or other people have succeeded in getting their identical name up there in the Google ranks. Those are the people I really work with. They need to blog and leave comments and link to other blogs. They need to get involved and connect with others online. I also recommend everyone gets a LinkedIn account. It's a professional venue to share and talk solely on a professional level. Facebook is a wonderful place to connect, but it is not created to focus on professional interactions! I also recommend my students build an online portfolio. Many of them are doing great things using free tools like Weebly, WordPress and Wix. I recommend they use free video compression tools and post their video using beautiful tools like Vimeo or Motionbox. Once those sites are created they need to make sure that URL is connected to all of their social networking identities. I've seen graduates get jobs just from the viral nature of forwarded emails where one news director likes what they see but can't hire to her or she forwards the links to friends they know who are hiring. I had one student who didn't send out a single resume over the mail. She just sent links. I think that's fabulous. I hope to see more.

Honestly. I just hope to see my students get hired!

I try to keep track of helpful tools that let journalists collect and share their work online. Feel free to visit this page and let me know if you see any other tools in my list. The more I can collect, the easier it will be for us all to do great work without worrying about the technology getting in the way!

UPDATE: One other tool that really helps in getting sites noticed by Google: Use Google Analytics! It helps you see who is visiting your site AND it brings Google to visit your page more often!